If you've ever realized you wear 25 percent of your clothing 75 percent of the time, then a clothing swap party is a must-have event. Like any community exchange or sale, clothing swap parties occur in all varieties, sizes and venues. Some swap parties benefit specific members of a non-profit or association, while others are open to any interested individual. Regardless of the attendees, establishing clear, comprehensive rules keeps the event enjoyable and effective for everyone.
Keep It Clean
Accept only freshly washed clothing at your swap party. An item that sits in the back of a closet for two years gets pretty dirty. Requiring party attendees to dry clean or launder all clothing at least one week before the event prevents allergens, contaminants and other bacteria from circulating. Specify on your invitation that all clothing must be washed no earlier than one week prior and should be from a non-smoking home. For larger swap parties, post someone by the door to inspect, and reject, any clothing with obvious odor, allergens or dirt.
Ideally, every attendee would bring as many items as she took away from your swap party. Because this isn't always realistic, setting an item minimum ensures an equitable experience. For smaller swap parties, you can advertise a three- or five-item minimum. Some larger or particularly well-organized swap parties use "swap credits" that award one credit for each item brought. For example, someone who brings five items would receive five swap credits to take home five items of equal or lesser value.
A small swap party of five women in a private home isn't likely to lure unintended guests. However, a larger event can draw random people not associated with your organization whom you may not want. Monitor the attendees of your swap party by requiring some kind of ID or having a registered guest list. Clearly state the identification required for admittance in your invitation and enforce the policy at the door.
No Damaged Goods
Nobody wants damaged clothing. Unless your your swap party centers around otherwise perfect items with missing buttons or broken zippers, it's best to prohibit them at the start. Generally, swap parties include gently used or new clothing with no stains, holes, snares or discoloration. Enforcing this rule saves attendees from accidentally taking home damaged goods. List your exclusions on the invitation (no broken zippers, missing buttons etc.) and post someone at the door to reject any unacceptable items.
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